What is "the Wash"?
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What is the Wash?
Chronology of Events

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Wash History

Since the creation of the Wash millions of years ago, it has undergone many hydrological, geological and biological changes with the most dramatic changes occurring over the last century. Follow the history of the Wash from the time it was an intermittent channel that carried seasonal flows from the Las Vegas Valley, to its present state as a lush wetland area that now carries as much water as a small river. You will see the effects that modern population growth and floodwaters have had on the Wash and the efforts of the Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee to restore and enhance this unique environment.

To learn more about people and the wash, visit Our History.

2 to 24 Million Years Ago

Geologic record indicates Wash floodplain development

Early 1900s Modern settlers make Las Vegas home, resulting in increased water flows into the wash

Early 1950s
Population growth continues

The first wastewater treatment facilities were built

Increased water flowing in the Wash creates extensive wetland environment

Modern techniques accurately determine the flow of water in the Wash

Flood event causes initial headcutting in the Wash channel


Increased water flows in the Wash accelerate erosional processes

Wetlands decline

Community comes together to discuss issues


Las Vegas drinking water pipeline constructed across the Wash

Early 1970s
Increasing water flows and flood events cause 5,000 feet of upstream headcutting

Sewage and wastewater advisory committee is organized

Clark County Water Reclamation District (formerly Clark County Sanitation District) constructs new wastewater treatment plant

Las Vegas Wash development advisory committee is organized to discuss wetland degradation issues

1977 - 1978
Section 208 water quality management plan issued

Northshore road culverts replaced by Northshore bridge

Water Quality Study Board & Las Vegas Valley Water Quality Program formed


Early 1980s
Headcutting advances 9,000 feet upstream

Clark County board approves master planning efforts for the Wash

Clark County Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant constructed

Flood events erode more sediment from the Wash

Temporary erosion control structure built to protect drinking water pipeline

Clark County Regional Flood Control District created

Temporary erosion control structure is maintained

Clark County establishes task force to address erosion in Wash

Integrated & Comprehensive Management Program developed


Early 1990s
Lake Las Vegas constructed

Clark County begins planning for Wetlands Park

Clark County begins planning for Pabco Road erosion control structure

City of Henderson Water Reclamation Facility built

Clark County Wetlands Park Master Plan finalized

Ownership transfer of erosion control structure

Friends of the Desert Wetlands Park established

Dam under Northshore bridge built and failed

Lake Mead Water Quality Forum and Water Quality Citizens Advisory Committee established

Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee established

Emergency repairs to temporary erosion control structure

Three severe flood events scour sediments from the Wash

Construction of two erosion control structures delayed by flood

Educational Outreach begins with Mable Hoggard Elementary School

Late 1999
100-year flood event

Temporary Demonstration grade control structure completed

2000 to present

Las Vegas Wash Comprehensive Adaptive Management Plan completed, implementation underway

Bird Survey begins

Four grade control structures have been completed

Reptile survey begins

Ongoing bird and vegetation monitoring

Six grade control structures completed

Fish survey begins

More than 42 acres of land have been revegetated

Seven grade control structures have been built

0.8 miles of bank stabilization have been put in place

About 57 acres of land have been revegetated

About four miles of bank protection have been implemented

Eight grade control structures have been completed

Bat and amphibian surveys begin

Reptile and fish surveys completed

Bird census completed

Archaeology sites inventoried and cataloged

Ongoing water quality in wash and tributaries

Continued educational outreach and community outreach events

The Wash experienced a strong storm event

Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team • 100 City Parkway, Suite 700 • Las Vegas, NV 89106 • (702) 822-3300